France’s increasingly hard line on the wearing of the Muslim veil has been stepped up even further. Just days after President Nicolas Sarkozy ordered the government to prepare legislation to ban the niqab and burqa in all public places, police fined a woman for wearing a veil while driving.
The 31-year-old driver was stopped by police officers in Nantes in western France and told that her niqab was a safety risk. She was fined about $30 by the officers, who said she was “driving in unsuitable conditions.”
“I don’t know what it’s like in your country,” one of the officers allegedly said, “but in France, we don’t drive this way.” The woman is French.
She is contesting the ticket. “My eyes were not covered,” she said. “I can see just like you, and my field of vision was not obstructed.”
The incident was further complicated when France’s minister of the interior demanded immigration officials investigate her husband, Lies Hebbadj, claiming to have evidence the man was a polygamist with four wives, who each claimed welfare. Hebbadj is an Algerian who has been naturalized since 1999.